I Carry: Smith & Wesson Model 642 Revolver in a Blackhawk Holster

posted on July 27, 2018

Welcome to another episode of "I Carry," Shooting Illustrated's weekly video series covering the guns and gear needed to put together a potential everyday-carry kit. Today, we have a Smith & Wesson Model 642 in a Blackhawk Premium Leather Holster. We also have an Outdoor Edge Paraclaw CQD watch, a Maglite flashlight and a Buck Knives folding knife.

Gun: Smith & Wesson Model 642 ($525)

When it comes to concealed-carry guns, it doesn’t get much more classic than the time-tested Smith & Wesson J-frame lineup, and the Model 642 is no exception. This particular gun debuted in 1995 as the aluminum-framed Airweight sibling of the company’s steel-framed Model 640. As such, this wheelgun weighs in at a scant 15 ounces and is rated for .38 Special +P loads.

However, as our clued-in viewers might have already noticed, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill Model 642. The Smith & Wesson Performance Center released this Enhanced Action variant of the design, featuring a worked-over trigger that smooths the double-action-only design. The pistol also features attractive, comfortable wood stocks that offer a secure firing grip without compromising concealability.

Holster: Blackhawk Premium Leather Holster ($99.95)

I chose to carry the Model 642 inside the waistband, so I turned to Blackhawk and the company’s new line of leather holsters. Generally speaking, Blackhawk holsters have always tended toward the tactical, offering holsters made from polymer, nylon and other cutting-edge materials. In 2018, the company’s all-new line of Premium Leather Holsters, introduced in 2018, offers a more-traditional option, which is perfect for this undeniably traditional yet eminently effective concealed-carry gun.

The holsters are all made in Italy and include an adjustable tension screw that enables wearers to fine-tune the holster’s friction retention. The holster attaches with metal belt clip and has a reinforced mouth that aids in reholstering, as well as a sweat guard that keeps the gun away from the wearer’s body.

Flashlight: Maglite Mag-Tac ($95)

Remember those classic Maglite flashlights? You know, the ones that weighed a ton and could double as a bludgeon? Yeah, the company’s come a ways since then and now offers carry-sized lights in the form of its Mag-Tac, Maglite’s first-ever CR123A-powered light. This new design features the easily operated tailcap switch and operates with three modes: momentary-on, full-power and strobe. At its maximum output, the light will flood any area with a respectable 320 lumens and runs for an impressive four hours.

Knife: Buck Knives Alumni ($30)

Designed with compact, discreet carry in mind, the Buck Alumni knife features a short blade measuring just under two inches long, making it legal to carry in many jurisdictions. The folding blade is secured into place with a lock-back mechanism, and the anodized-aluminum handle can be had in black, blue, gold and gray colors. Consumers can also order the Alumni with a personalized inscription engraved into the handle for a small added fee.

Watch: Outdoor Edge Paraclaw CQD Watch ($79.95)

If you’re more of a traditionalist, the kind of guy or gal who prefers a tried-and-true wheelgun like the Model 642, chances are you might be a traditionalist in other ways. Maybe you prefer a mechanical watch instead of checking your smartphone screen all the time? If so, the Outdoor Edge Paraclaw CQD watch is a neat option with a few built-in surprises. The strap is made from durable 550 paracord, incredibly useful in emergency scenarios. Also found on the watch buckle is a small Paraclaw blade that can be used for utility or personal-defense in a pinch.


RCBS Chargemaster Supreme
RCBS Chargemaster Supreme

High-Tech Handloading

I now keep all my ammunition-creation data on a computer. Sure, I’ll make notes when working up a new load or tweaking an existing one, but ultimately my data is stored digitally. Since my loading room is only steps from my computer, the transition from written to digital data has been easy for me. Now that I’m using the handloading app from RCBS, it’s even easier, and it also makes recreating my favorite loads when I’m at the loading bench more convenient.

First Look: 1791 Gunleather Holsters for S&W CSX Pistols

New holsters for the nifty little pistol from Smith & Wesson.

First Look: XS Night Sights for SA XD OSP and Tisas PX-9

Two new front and rear sight sets featuring some of XS Sights most popular designs.

Concealed-Carry Contemplations

You took a concealed-carry class from a well-known instructor who visited your local range recently. You learned a lot—especially that there was a lot yet to learn—over the two days of the course.

What We Plan For

Sheriff Jim reminds us that wishing and hopeful thinking should not be part of your self-defense plan.

First Look: GiantMouse ACE Nazca Knives

A folding knife with south of the border style.


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